Anti-Corruption Workshop offers basis for change
Thursday 9 August 2012
Whilst we all deplore the impact of corrupt practices how many of us appreciate the enormity of the task to bring about reform? The University of Surrey’s Corruption Research Group has called together leading minds to look at the role for civil society organisations in fighting corruption. Hosted by Surrey’s School of Law, a two day workshop has seen lawyers, researchers, NGOs (Non-Governemental Organisations) and CSOs (Civil Society Organisations), including the UN and Transparency International, exploring the potential for reform and engagement of CSOs in the implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption by states that have ratified this Convention.
The fight against corruption has figured high on the agenda of the international community since the mid-1990s resulting in the adoption of regional and international conventions. Civil society is regarded by many of the anti-corruption conventions as an important tool in this fight. While Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have an obvious role in raising awareness, their more direct involvement in fighting corruption has proved difficult.
This raises a number of interesting questions that Surrey’s workshop has worked to address. The aim has been to move beyond statements of blame and recrimination, to surface this complexity and, in so doing, to build a level of understanding that offers a basis for concrete and sustainable actions.
Professor Indira Carr who leads the Corruption Research Group is delighted with the outcomes from the workshop., “The message coming from the workshop was that to fight and prevent corruption we need to employ a ‘cocktail approach’ and that legislation itself is insufficient to solve the problem. Education, robust anti-corruption business management systems in companies and other organisations including CSOs, free media, better whistle-blower protection and thorough reviews of implementation of anti-corruption legislation by states are vital to make a perceivable advance in combating and preventing corruption. The importance of engagement between all stakeholders cannot be overstated.” Professor Carr went on to explain, “The bringing together of academics and practitioners at the workshop also highlighted that corruption research needs to carried out from a multi-disciplinary perspective rather than through a single discipline lens such as law, management studies, economics or politics.”
A book featuring the papers presented at the workshop is to be published. In the meantime the proceedings of the workshop will be published in the Surrey Law Working Papers series.